NBC News Presidential Debate (Atlanta)
Jonah Bryson and Sara Imam in the studio, working on Parkland's Carry You On (Miami)
Martin Luther King III and Family with Jonah Bryson on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
Jonah Louis Bryson is an American-French award-winning film director, political advocate, scuba diver, and musician. He is currently Director of Communications for Martin Luther King III. He has worked with March for Our Lives in Parkland, heading the Carry You On musical production, advised on US presidential and congressional campaigns, and was an official CNN spokesperson for the 2018 midterm elections.
Bryson’s interest in oceanic issues began at an early age. Mentored by Dr. Sylvia Earle, he studied the oceans and underwater cinematography. At age 12, he started working on a documentary on the effects of climate change on aquatic life, for which he composed and recorded a soundtrack with members of Taylor Swift's band in Nashville. He would eventually screen a version of the unfinished film in Tampa, in 2014. For it, he received an award sponsored by Prince Albert II of Monaco and Dr. Earle.
At 14 Bryson met his hero, Rob Stewart, with whom he would eventually co-direct The Fight for Bala, a film about preserving first nation lands from corporate destruction. Sadly, Stewart came to a premature death in 2017. Bryson subsequently went on to receive the first-ever Rob Stewart Youth Award, an honor meant to promote better stewardship of the planet, while highlighting their close friendship and collaboration.
The following year, Bryson embarked on an expedition to the Cayman Islands with undersea explorer Fabien Cousteau (grandson of Jacques Cousteau), much of which was documented on film.
As a musician, Bryson has composed, directed, and played piano in several musical productions. In 2018, he directed a Miami-based production for friends who suffered the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. The song, Carry You On, was co-written by survivors Sara Imam and Kali Clougherty, as well as Bryson. Released by People Magazine on the eve of the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, it hit #1 on Rolling Stone's trending list. It was widely backed by a variety of notable people, including Sir Paul McCartney, Congressmen John Lewis and Joe Kennedy III, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, the cast of Dear Evan Hansen, CNN's Van Jones, and actress Julianne Moore. All proceeds from the song have gone to March For Our Lives.
In March of 2019, Bryson joined Isiah James in his run for Congress in New York’s 9th District (Brooklyn). He both advised for the campaign, and directed and scored its first official political ad.
As Director of Communications for Martin Luther King III, Bryson often travels across the United States managing King's media and press. He advocated alongside TOMS and the King family to pass Bill HR-8 (a gun control legislation), as well as in the efforts to grant death-row inmate Rodney Reed a reprieve. Among many official visits, he has joined the King family for Martin Luther King Day in Washington, DC; at the 2019 MSNBC Presidential Debate in Atlanta; and at the 2020 Rev. Al Sharpton Breakfast with President Clinton, whom Bryson was privileged to both follow and photograph.
In August 2019, Bryson directed The New York Times' tribute honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech. It was filmed at the birth home of Dr. King in Atlanta, which now belongs to the US National Park Service. The 1960s-inspired music was written by Bryson, and recorded on a reel-to-reel originating from that same decade. In 2019, he also designed the official card commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 90th birthday, which was sent expressly to the members of the United States Congress.
In March 2020, Bryson will be directing a filmed address at the United Nations Headquarters General Assembly, which will be delivered by King III, his wife Arndrea King, and their daughter Yolanda Renee King (the only granddaughter of Dr. King). The music will be scored by Bryson, and feature a performance by Malcolm McNab, an accomplished studio trumpet player who has performed lead on countless feature-film soundtracks, including nearly fifty scores by John Williams.
Academy Award-winning director Louie Psihoyos has praised Bryson’s advocacy, stating "it's not often do you have a talented young voice that understands the issues and more importantly knows how to inspire people with solutions."
Bryson's work has been featured on CNN (which also includes his documentation of residents preparing against the threats of Hurricane Dorian), MSNBC, The Hill, The New York Times, People Magazine, National Geographic, The Rolling Stone, and The Parklander, of Parkland, Florida, where he currently spends much of his time. In 2017 Bryson also interviewed David Prowse, who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy. Published in the Huffington Post, the interview would become one of the last Prowse would ever give.
Bryson was born in Lyon, France, in 2000, and is fluent in both English and French.